While Monday was a good day for trade, it also marked the first day without a farm bill. Lawmakers failed to gain a consensus in the farm bill conference committee before the September 30th deadline as the previous farm bill expired.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway says he is willing to stay in negotiations this month, even though the U.S. House has left for a pre-election recess. Ag lawmakers and Department of Agriculture officials warn of little harm, for now, without a farm bill. The hope is to pass a bill following the November elections.
Conaway seems eager to wrap up as much work as possible, saying last week “producers don’t need the additional anxiety or uncertainty” of not having a five-year farm bill. Food Business Network reports that with the expiration of the 2014 farm bill, 39 “orphan” programs lost both authorization and funding.
These programs include certain conservation programs and most bioenergy, rural development and agricultural research programs. Meanwhile, also last week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said arrangements were being made to ensure USDA operations are not left behind.